The Cavaliers capture their 16th ACC Championship and first since 2009.

CARY, N.C. – No. 2 Virginia (17-1-1) scored three, second-half goals, including two in the final 8:52 in a 3-1 win over top-ranked Clemson (16-2-1) on Sunday (Nov. 17) in the final of the 2019 ACC Championship at Sahlen’s Stadium. The Cavaliers capture their 16th ACC Championship and first since 2009.

Trailing at the half for only the second time this season, Virginia knotted the game up at one in the 65th minute on the first career goal by Axel Gunnarsson (Gothenburg, Sweden). The freshman became the 13th Cavalier to get on the scoresheet this season. Junior Irakoze Donasiyano (Roanoke, Va.) was the credited with the assist on the equalizer.

The eventual game-winning goal went off the shin Cabrel Happi Kamseu (Harare, Zimbabwe) with 8:52 remaining in regulation. Sophomore Daniel Steedman (Glasgow, Scotland) served a corner kick into the middle of the box where Happi Kamseu was able to knock in his second tally of the season. Happi Kamseu was making just his second start of the season and went on to earn All-Tournament honors.

The Cavaliers put the game away just 1:26 later when Daryl Dike (Edmond, Okla.) was taken down in the box. Clemson’s Malick Mbaye, the 2019 ACC Defensive Player of the Year, was issued a straight-red card for the foul. Senior captain Robin Afamefuna (Wuerselen, Germany) converted the penalty kick for his second goal of the year and third point in the last three games.

“This trophy and this championship are pretty difficult to win,” head coach George Gelnovatch said. “The only thing that’s sweeter is the national championship. It’s really, really hard to do, and I’m proud of not only winning it but in the fashion that we did, coming from behind. We showed a lot of character today.”

Cavalier netminder Colin Shutler (Middleburg, Va.) turned away four chances on target by Clemson who came into the contest as the NCAA’s most prolific offense.

The goal by Clemson’s James Brighton in the 18th minute was only the seventh allowed by the Virginia defense this season and third in the first half. The Cavaliers found themselves trailing for the first time since Oct. 18, a span of five games and 540 minutes.

Defender Henry Kessler (New York, N.Y.) was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player and joined Bret Halsey (Sterling, Va.), Happi Kamseu and Nathaniel Crofts (Sheffield, England) on the 2019 ACC All-Tournament Team.

The selection show for the 2019 NCAA Tournament is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 18. The show will air live on

Additional Notes
• Virginia has won a total 16 ACC Championships and 11 ACC Tournament titles.
• The conference championship is the fifth under Gelnovatch (1997, 2003, 2004, 2009 & 2019). In his 24-year tenure, the Cavaliers have reached the ACC Championship game 14 times.
• Clemson is the second No. 1 ranked team Virginia has defeated this year (Maryland – Sept. 2). The Cavaliers are 8-0 this season against top-25 foes and 4-0 against the top-10. It marked the first time the Cavaliers have played two different top-ranked teams in the same season.
• Today marked the sixth time Virginia has been part of a game that featured the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the country. The last time was the 2009 National Championship game against No. 1 Akron in Cary.
• The victory was Virginia’s 17th of the season, the first season of 17+ wins since 2009, the last time the Cavaliers won the ACC Tournament. Virginia has won 17 or more games seven times under Gelnovatch.
• Virginia owns the most wins (45), goals (118), finals appearances (20) and tournament titles (11) in the 32-year history of the tournament.
• The Cavaliers improved to 29-24-6 against Clemson all-time and 5-2-2 against the Tigers in the ACC Tournament. Virginia has outscored Clemson 7-2 in its last two meetings.

2019 ACC All-Tournament Team
Nathaniel Crofts, Virginia
Bret Halsey, Virginia
Cabrel Happi Kamseu, Virginia
Henry Kessler, Virginia

James Brighton, Clemson
Tanner Dieterich, Clemson
Philip Mayaka, Clemson
Edward Kizza, Pitt
Arturo Ordonez, Pitt
Michael DeShields, Wake Forest
Joey DeZart, Wake Forest
Tournament MVP – Henry Kessler, Virginia